Dog Fur vs Hair: What’s The Difference?

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As a human, you know you have hair on your head. You don’t have fur on your skin, unlike your dog. Your dog is furry, so they have fur, but don’t they also have dog hair? You know the difference between brushing your hair with a comb versus using a grooming brush on your cat’s fur, but what about cat hair? You’re not the only one who doesn’t understand the difference between pet hair and pet fur. Although it is easy to mix the two, there is a difference between the two. Keep reading to find out the difference between fur and hair.

Difference Between Dog Fur vs Hair

While dog hair and dog fur seem to be terms that you can use interchangeably in everyday speech; they’re not. Between the two, there is a contextual difference. Scientifically speaking, according to a Scientific American interview with mammalogist Nancy Simmons, there isn’t an actual scientific difference between the two.

There is a distinction between how dog hair and dog fur are discussed Dog hair tends to refer to the growing phase of a dog’s hair. Dog fur tends to be shorter and thicker than dog hair. Dogs with fur tend to shed more often than dogs with just dog hair.

Difference Between Dog Hair and Dog Fur

Difference Between Cat Hair and Cat Fur

Just like dog hair and dog fur, people refer to cat hair and cat fur interchangeably. Interestingly enough, you’ll notice people say that a ball or clump of a cat’s hair is a hairball. However, you may see cat parents affectionately refer to their little cat as a furball. Regardless of the type of cat you have, most cat parents refer to cat hair as well hair.

Difference Between Horse Hair and Horse Fur

Similar to other animal hair and animal fur, there is no difference between horse hair and horse fur. Even then, most people won’t exactly call their horse “furry.” Rarely do you hear someone describe their horse’s coat as fur? Because animals like horses and cows don’t have a coat that’s long enough to become a garment, unlike bears with fur or minks with fur, we refer to a horse’s hair as “hair.”

Dogs Can Have Hair and/or Fur

Some dogs lack fur entirely in favor of hair. These frequently include dogs that are hypoallergenic, like poodles or Portuguese Water Dogs. There are dogs that have fur instead of hair. These furry dogs have shorter coats and don’t require as much grooming as dogs with hair. However, you will see these furry dogs shed quite often. Furry dogs include beagles and pugs.

The Texture and Density of Hair vs Fur

There are noticeable textural differences between hair and fur. Animals with hair tend to have coarse and thicker follicles. Humans tend to have softer and less dense follicles. You’ll see that animals that come from colder climates have thicker, double coats. When an animal has a double coat, it’s because they’re doubly layered for more insulation and warmth. Humans, in contrast, do not use hair as insulation. Animals with fur have fur for insulation.

Where Hair and Fur Grow

There is a difference between the growth patterns of hair and fur. Fur tends to grow in synchronized patterns and appears to stop at a specific length. Compare that to hair, and you’ll find hair grows independently and does not tend to stop growing. If you never got a haircut, your hair could become as long as Rapunzel’s. Dogs with hair like Irish Water Spaniels and Bearded Collies could have hair that keeps growing if not groomed properly.

Main Differences Between Hair and Fur

The chemical composition of hair and fur are the same. However, there are differences between hair and fur when we talk about them in everyday speech. Hair needs to be cut because the hair will continue to grow. Fur can be trimmed or groomed, but it only grows to a specific length.

Dogs with fur tend to have shorter hairs, although they will shed more. Keep that in mind when you’re choosing a certain kind of dog breed as a pet. If you’re looking to groom your pet, use a pet hair remover brush routinely to make sure you get rid of any excess hair.

When an animal has fur, it means they have a thick coat of soft hair. Their hair covers their skin. Animals with fur include foxes and beavers and, of course, your favorite pet cat or dog. The fur will be coarse and short.

Animals with hair, like humans and certain types of dog breeds, have thread-like, fine strands. These hair strands are soft and long and can keep growing if they aren’t cut short or groomed.

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